What work is being carried out underground in Via Laietana?

The project being carried out in Via Laietana involves some of the most complex works in recent years. Beneath the asphalt, the layout of tunnels and galleries from 1912 has become obsolete and bringing it up to date is no easy task. Work will last 21 months and entails an update to sewerage systems and pipes, gas pipes, power lines, telephony and communications infrastructures.

Vista aèria general de la ciutat de Barcelona i la Via Laietana. Al fons, el Tibidabo.
18/09/2023 - 15:14 h - Urban planning and infrastructures Ajuntament de Barcelona

The second stage of work in Via Laietana started this month and will take 21 months. This is one of the most complex sets of works in recent years and entails a definitive upgrade below ground.

The layout of services below ground in Via Laietana was conceived in 1912: the L4 metro tunnel, and two sewerage systems on each side, two service galleries along which run gas pipes, water pipes, power lines and telecommunications for the local vicinity. This is where the first stumbling block comes, as there is no access to these galleries and while we know roughly which services they contain, an accurate identification of each cable or pipe is needed to decide if they are to be kept or eliminated.

Repairs to water traps and transfer of water and gas services

The inner walls of the water traps need repairing. As these are right beneath the façades of buildings, this work will affect pedestrian circulation along pavements, meaning pedestrian routes will have to be shifted to the central section of the road, with barriers protecting them from traffic. Access trenches will also need to be created next to façades so that water and gas services can be shifted out of the galleries as part of the upgrade to the obsolete sections. This needs to be coordinated with the corresponding companies, which are responsible for the installation of supply pipes.

Obsolete service galleries to be eliminated

Passing services along galleries is an obsolete method, but the only space where definite power lines, telephony and communications infrastructures can go is where the galleries now are. Firstly, provisional pipes need to be built between the metro and the galleries so that the latter can be demolished and the definitive pipes installed in the same place. As if this wasn’t enough, there is a further complication in that electricity, telephony and communications cannot be transferred by sections. The entire length of the pipe must be replaced, and this must be done in the shortest possible period of time. These lines provide services for local residents, shops and businesses. Once checks with companies are completed to ensure that new connections work, the provisional pipes can be eliminated, and it will be time to focus all efforts on the work above ground.

A Via Laietana connecting neighbourhoods

Once the work is completed, the whole areas around Pl. Correus and Pl. Idrissa Diallo will have been revamped and the appearance of Via Laietana will have changed with:

  • Pavements up to 4 metres wide all along the street.
  • Wider pedestrain crossings.
  • New lighting on façades.
  • Bike lanes in both directions: segregated on the uphill side and shared with the bus on the downhill side.
  • A single traffic lane for private vehicles heading downhill.

For full information on the work in Via Laietana and disruptions to mobility, go to the website https://ajuntament.barcelona.cat/obres/ca/via-laietana.